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Doctor claims excessive force in lawsuit against city of OKC

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A Norman Veterans Center doctor is seeking at least $75,000 for excessive use of police force in a lawsuit against the city of Oklahoma City.

Dr. Drew Cooper filed the lawsuit Monday in Oklahoma City federal court alleging he endured an “unlawful and wrongful” arrest Aug. 14, 2018, that later cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Officers David Storer and Bailey Hawkins, who also are named as defendants, arrested Cooper on a complaint of assault and battery on a police officer after responding to the doctor’s house for a domestic disturbance.

The Oklahoma County District Attorney and the Oklahoma City Municipal Counselor later declined to file charges against Cooper.

Cooper, 57, claimed in his lawsuit that Storer handcuffed him, forced him to the ground and used a Taser on his back despite his following all of the officer’s verbal commands. He alleged Hawkins shoved him against a wall at a hospital after the arrest and violently raised his elbows behind his back while handcuffed.

The two officers provided a distinctly different account of the arrest in their criminal complaint against Cooper. The doctor’s wife had called the police to report her husband hit her in the head with a dog toy and was locking herself in a room for safety.

The officers said Cooper blocked them from entering the house and became “extremely irate” and belligerent when one tried to push him toward the kitchen, according to the police report. They reported he reached for items on an officer’s belt, including a gun, as they put him on the ground.

The officers said they used a stun gun twice to subdue Cooper, and one of them suffered a small scrape on the hand during the arrest, according to the report.

The lawsuit states Cooper’s arrest garnered abundant media coverage and caused him to lose several contracts, costing him hundreds of thousands of dollars. Cooper was temporarily barred from entering facilities operated by the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, which contracted with him to work at the Norman Veterans Center.

He is now suing for damages for alleged excessive force, unlawful seizure, assault and battery, and infliction of emotional distress by Storer and Hawkins. He also argued the city is liable for the officers’ actions and argued it was negligent in training, supervising and disciplining them.

The city declined to comment on the ongoing lawsuit.

Nuria Martinez-Keel

Nuria Martinez-Keel joined The Oklahoman in 2019. She found a home at the newspaper while interning in summer 2016 and 2017. Nuria returned to The Oklahoman for a third time after working a year and a half at the Sedalia Democrat in Sedalia,... Read more ›

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